I love the early morning in this time of winter when the sun has not quite risen and it seems as if a shade of soft gray is still pulled down over the landscape. I tiptoe outside before the cars have started their winter warm-up sounds and manage to grab the newspaper from the driveway, before anyone intrudes on this quiet time. Even the birds have not stirred yet, except the crows, which can be heard far off in the distance beginning their wake-up call to round up their troops for their daily escapades. Then when I return to the house to have a few quiet moments of reading, the dogs stir slightly as if wondering if I am an intruder who needs a loud barking announcement of my arrival or perhaps I have been there all along. They decide it is still too cold to move so just snuggle back into sleep, one in her own dog bed in the corner and the other in mine.
The many events taking place even during this period bring answers to those people who ask all of us "winter folk" that famous question: "what do you do in the winter?" Well, here are a few choices.
Tonight, Feb. 15, from 5 to 7, the Oak Bluffs seventh grade will be holding a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser at the Oak Bluffs School cafeteria. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children and may be purchased from any seventh-grader or at the door.
The second grade at the Oak Bluffs School is again sponsoring the annual food drive to support the Island Food Pantry. They began their collection on Monday and it will continue through Friday, Feb. 16. The second-grade students will collect donations daily from each homeroom. Please help support this annual community project, now in its 17th year.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 6 pm, it will be movie night at the Oak Bluffs Public Library. They will be showing a new comedy/drama starring Joan Plowright which will be viewed on their large projection screen. For more information, call the library at 693-9433.
The school will also like your help in their support of the VanDerlaske family. They are asking anyone interested in donating to the family to send cash or check donations to the PTO made out to the Steamship Authority or to Bonanza Bus. These funds will be used to get boat ticket books and Bonanza bus passes for the family to travel to and from the Island for Hannah's care. You can send donations to the school office and know that your support is much appreciated.
The school, along with much of the Island, mourns the passing of one of their own bus drivers, John "Harpo" Andrews. As a bus driver he was especially popular with the students on his route. He will be greatly missed.
Carla Martel and Brian Alwardt went to Youville Hospital last week to pick up Orlie Alwardt and bring him back to the Island. Orlie has been hospitalized since the day after Christmas, first at Martha's Vineyard Community Hospital, then to Brigham and Women's and the last three weeks were spent at Youville where at last he was given the ok to come home to Oak Bluffs. Throughout this ordeal he has been supported with letters, calls, and visits from his and Carla's family and many friends. Everyone is most grateful for the exceptional care he received at all of the hospitals. Right now he is planning on some quiet recuperation for a couple of weeks before he gets back into the swing of things.
Our deepest sympathies to the family of Alice Coutinho whose death this week bought a deep sense of loss to so many people. Alice leaves her son Richard and daughters Sylvia, Virginia, and Margie and her many grandchildren. She was predeceased by her son Jack and husband John. Alice was involved in many musical activities throughout her lifetime and numerous Island residents benefited from her piano lessons. Her love of music was passed on to her children and so many others on the Island. She would frequently call me with tidbits of interesting news and was always right on target in her memories of past events. She leaves a void in this community.
Here is a happy Valentine's story. Bob and Millie Scott celebrated 54 years of marriage on Feb. 14. Congratulations to this popular couple. They have three children - Michael, Tom, and Sally - and three grandsons. What a wonderful day to celebrate so many years of marriage.
We send birthday smiles to Sally Scott whose day was Feb. 7, brothers Mike and Eric deBettencourt who share Feb. 15, Kathy Farrissey and Carol Sue deBettencourt on Feb. 16, Carrie Tankard on Feb.18. The next day is for Kara Marshall, and Mike deBettencourt, Jr. will party on Feb. 20.
Enjoy your week and send your news along.